Welcome

Welcome to my website! Here you will find all my latest news, music, videos and information. I will be upgrading and updating as often as I can, so keep checking back often. Be sure to stop by the downloads page and pick up some free instrumental metal. If you want to join me in my relentless networking exploits, add me at the various sites above.

Thank you for your interest in my music and your continued support!

-Keith

News

New Interview 

From ergnerds.com

Hi Keith! First of all – thanks for the interview. What have you been up to lately?

 

Thank YOU for the interview! ;) I’m currently juggling multiple projects. Aside from writing a lot of music this year, I’m keeping very busy with my job at Seymour Duncan. I do artist relations and media full time for them. So, I’m working with a bunch of different artists and creating a lot of audio and video content. Fun stuff!

We recently reviewed your Schecter signature guitar, the KM-7, and loved it. You have probably answered this question lots of times before but could you tell us a few things about it? What was your and the Schecter guys’ main focus when designing the guitar?

Glad to hear that you loved it! I saw the review and I thank you for the great input on it. When I started working with Schecter on the KM7 guitar, I already knew what I wanted. I had the specs set aside for my ideal guitar, which I was probably going to have built at some point. So I went into it with specs I would have requested on a custom shop guitar. After a couple prototypes, they nailed it for me. I think it’s really cool that they were able to make a guitar with such amazing specs, and offer it at a price that most people could afford. The goal for me was to have the ideal guitar for the type of music I like to play, with the tone that I love. That’s not “endorsement speak”, either. I really do prefer the KM7 over just about anything because it’s exactly what I want in a guitar. Plus, when I wear it out, I can get another exactly like it. The quality is very consistent on them.

Some people might have missed it: You’ve been working for Seymour Duncan for a few years now. Did they approach you after discovering you on YouTube?

I met the Seymour Duncan staff for the first time at their VIP party during NAMM a few years ago. My friend Ola Englund and I were invited to the party, and we started talking about YouTube and social media. They said they wanted to start having me do some demos for them. After NAMM, they sent a bunch of products and I whipped up some shootout videos. They liked those videos enough to create a job for me. I was Duncan’s first “remote” employee. I started out doing tech support over the phone and email, but now I produce audio and video, as well as provide artist relations for the Metal players. In addition, I help design new products, such as pickups and pedals. I’ve had the pleasure of helping some great artists design signature pickups, which is a lot of fun. I work out of my studio in Portland, Oregon. It’s a dream gig, and I truly love the Duncan crew. Such a great company to work with!

Which brings us to a question we have already asked Ola Englund: I often see people asking how to pursue possible endorsement deals on the basis of a YouTube channel with a few playthroughs and a couple of followers, rather than being in a band and playing lots of shows. Do you think the perception of how to become a successful musician and especially guitarist has changed because of your and others’ success as YouTubers?

Hard to say for sure. I have several close friends and colleagues who have told me on several occasions that the type of videos guys like Ola and I have done changed the way products are demoed and marketed in the MI. Even just a few years ago, it was pretty unheard of for a YouTube guy to be taken seriously enough for companies to consider them worthy of endorsement. But, a lot of companies have caught on, and YouTube is essential these days. Some YouTube guys have obtained many endorsements from music and demo videos, so it’s totally possible to do. I got my first guitar endorsement by doing videos around late 2007 if I recall correctly. It was offered to me. I hadn’t even considered that it would be possible to get an endorsement from playing guitar in a YouTube video. I think I just got lucky. I didn’t have a whole ton of subs, which is really what they look for now. A major company once reported to me that a video which gets 30k views in the first couple days is a way more effective sales tool for them than a band that tours full time. So, things are definitely different these days, and companies will endorse a guy who has a large subscriber base and produces cool content.

I get quite a few emails each week from people wanting to break into doing similar types of videos and start working with companies, and most commonly, endorsement. The thing is, it takes a bit more than just being a rad player with a camera and a few subscribers. Endorsements will happen organically once you’ve accrued a lot of subscribers and release great content on a regular basis. I think most people understand that endorsements are supposed to be mutually beneficial for the artist and the company. Although, you’d be surprised by how many people think they’re eligible for endorsement just because they’re good at guitar (or whatever instrument). You have to be able to promote products to the company’s target audience, and have a pretty deep reach in the guitar community in order for it to be a benefit to that company. I usually suggest that people demo the gear the currently have, borrow gear from friends, invest the time it takes to make a cool demo that sounds great. If it’s good, it will get noticed, spread around, and you will gain a lot of subscribers. Once you have a healthy amount of subscribers, you have the target audience that those companies look for. Without that, endorsement is a bit unrealistic.

Never be afraid to upload music or videos to the internet. Just make sure you can look at it and say “this is the best I can do”. You never know what might happen! It all starts with music, though. I think being a decent musician is the key ingredient in all of this. ALWAYS care way more about your music and playing than you do about gear or endorsements. I started out by just posting playthrough videos of my music. It morphed into gear demos when companies started asking me to use their products in videos. Don’t ever let gear be your primary focus or motivation for wanting to go down the YouTube path. That’s shot. Be a musician first and foremost. Spend more time practicing guitar than you do talking about gear, watching videos about it, or even creating videos about it on YouTube. Use your free time to write music. So when you make your own videos, you’ll see people say they just watch your gear demos because of your music, and then you’ll know you’re doing it right. The music you play through that gear will hopefully keep people coming back to your channel.

I’ve seen great players do poor gear demos, and ametuer guitar players do great ones. Whatever category you fall in, just always do your best. Don’t even upload it if you think you can still do it better.

You recently had the chance to design the Alpha/Omega-Set together with Mark Holcomb of Periphery. Could you give us a few nerdy insights on the whole process of designing and refining a guitar-pickup?

Mark approached me about designing some pickups when he was developing his signature guitar with PRS. Mark and I have been friends for quite a while, so I was already familiar with the types of tones he needs for his music. He’s been a fan of Duncan pickups for a long time, and felt that we’d be able to create a perfect set of pickups for his style. So, we met up at the Duncan headquarters in Santa Barbara, California to dive into the project. Him and I worked directly with Kevin Beller, the lead engineer at Duncan that has been there for about 30 years. He’d build a set based on the tones and character we described, and then we’d test them in Mark’s guitar, using his AxeFx rig. We went back and forth a bunch of times, fine tuning the pickup and trying different iterations. Towards the end, it was like splitting hairs. All the prototypes were awesome, but the final versionsa that Mark decided on are really special. They have some serious mojo to them and sound crazy good. The neck pickup is a vintage output wind with a ceramic magnet. It’s different than any other Duncan neck pickup. They have a couple ceramic neck pickups, but they sound nothing like the Alpha. It’s not quite as bassy as most neck pickups, and because of that, it has insane clarity and sparkle. It responds to pick attack very quickly, and sounds amazing for both clean and high gain tones. The Omega bridge pickup is on the upper end of a moderate output pickup. It’s also ceramic-based, and pairs very nicely with the neck. It’s hot enough that you get a lush saturation, but maintains clarity when playing big chords, even if you’re running a lot of gain. The notes just bloom in a very musical way. It also has one of the most aggressive sounding palm mutes I’ve ever heard. The thing is capable of sounding real pissed, haha. I have been rocking them in a couple guitars and they also fit my sound very well. They’re pretty versatile. The whole process of creating these pickups took about 4 days, and it was extremely fun.

The demo video you posted on your Youtube channel sounds incredible. Will there be 7- or even 8-string-variations available of the Alpha/Omega-set?

They’re being released as a limited edition set through the Duncan Custom Shop in 6 string. However, the CS can build just about anything you can dream up. So, they are definitely capable of making them in 7 or 8 string. I have a prototype set of 7 string Alpha/Omega pickups in one of my KM7 guitars right now. Sounds unreal.

Let’s talk about Conquering Dystopia. Can you tell us a bit about the process of writing- and recording the album?

The project initially started out just being a side thing that Jeff (Loomis) and I wanted to do together. We’ve been buds for a while. It kinda just happened organically. It was like “yeah, let’s do this!”. By the time we started writing music, we had already talked to Alex Webster (bass) and Alex Rudinger (drums) about it. We were all really excited to work on it. Jeff would take the train to my house every weekend and we just wrote the album. We’d send the song arrangements to the other guys, and they’d write their parts to accompany what Jeff and I had going. We ended up having a very thorough preproduction of the entire album. So, we pretty much had it all mapped out before we even started the final recordings. Every note was gone over by all of us, and we didn’t deviate much from what we worked out in preproduction. We did an Indigogo crowd funding campaign to help get this off the ground. Thanks to all the awesome supporters, it was a huge success, and we were able to have the drums tracked and the album mix/mastered by Mark Lewis at Audiohammer in Florida. I tracked all the guitars at my studio, and Alex Webster tracked bass at his house.

What’s your plan for Conquering Dystopia in 2015 and do you have other musical projects in the works?

The biggest order of business with Conquering Dystopia is to continue and finish all the backend work from the crowdfunding campaign. We had never done a campaign, and didn’t expect it to blow up the way it did. We’re very fortunate for that, but as you can imagine, it created a lot of obligations for us to fulfil to our fans. We’re talking about doing another album, but we just really want to make sure we get everybody what we promised them before diving into another record.

As for other musical projects? Oh… I’m always working on something. I can’t give out too much info about it right now, but I think people will be stoked. ;)

Thank you very much for the interview, Keith!

Thanks for the great questions!

Professional Advice 

This is a question I get quite often, so I figured I'd share my response to it, publicly. If anyone is interested in my thoughts regarding making a living in the music industry, read on. It's long, and I was kinda in a hurry. Sorry for any typos.

Question-

"I'm a huge admirer of your work, so I thought it would be just logical to ask for your advice as well.

Right now I am completely resetting the goals of my life, and decided to start heading towards music, which is pretty much my biggest passion, and driving force, as I have come to realize.

In a few years time, I want to have my own little home studio at least, and if I could start making a living using that in any way, or just simply get closer to it, then I'd say I'm one step closer 
to heaven. To achieve this, I am also willing to work like a slave as well, but any suggestions, or any advice would be more than welcome. 
Like what are some of the mistakes that I should definitely avoid, or basically anything, that jumps to your mind 

I made the mistake of selling my guitar 1-2 years ago, after playing it for a good 7 years, just when I finally began to write the kind of music I liked, more and more the way I liked it. First of all, I'm getting one in a few weeks or so, naturally.

What I (think I) really need some advice, tips on is this:

What possibilities would you suggest to make a living from music, or at least in some way working around instruments, 
while you are not exactly at the level of a professional player yet?

Or, once again, anything, ANY advice at all would be more than welcome, and greatly appreciated!

Thanks for reading this, and keep up the amazing work you do!

Wishing you the best, "

My reply-

"Hello,

Thanks for the kind words! Sorry for the late reply, it's sometimes hard to keep up with the emails I get here on YouTube.

First off, know that although I am currently a working individual in the music industry, I'm not the authority on the subject, by any means. Most of what I'm about to tell you applies strictly to the DIY musician (my situation). I think every working musician's situation is different, and all of them have had to find ways to be successful in their own way. You have to define to yourself what you consider to be successful. I mean, do you want to be able to pay rent, or do you want to show up to NAMM in a helicopter? Set reasonable goals for yourself, meet them, and then set bigger goals.

Secondly, I strongly encourage you to consider how difficult it actually is to become a professional in the music industry. Music is a subjective thing, and it's been devalued so much over the years, that it's almost not realistic to choose the industry as a way to make a living. First and foremost, you have to put your love for your craft above all else. You can't go into it with hopes of making money, because the sad reality is, most people won't. Do it because you love music. If making music is all you ever gain from your endeavors, that should be enough.

If you want to get your foot in the door, I would say the best way to do that is to find a job at a local musical instrument retailer. Work around other people in the industry. Build up your home studio as you work, and start trying to reel in business. Keep in mind, most of what you do while you are building a name for yourself will be "pro bono". Build up a portfolio, then you can start charging people for whatever music-related services you have to offer.

I have a regular job. I do tech support for Seymour Duncan guitar pickups. Being a musician, money has to come in from many different places. Music, merch, endorsements, paid product demos, a job, studio work, recording/production, lessons, etc. Like I said, everyone's situation is a little different. Every working industry person I know has their own unique situation, and have had to find their own way to be successful. There's no formula for it. You carve your own path.

You have to not just be a proficient musician, but a very, VERY savvy business person. You must know how to conduct business, and be absolutely on-point with networking and media.

In other words, it's tough. You have to REALLY want it, and do absolutely everything you can to make it happen. Just be aware that it might not happen. It took me many years before I even saw a single penny from the music industry. My story is a successful one, but there are thousands of people who have tried (and many are still trying) the same thing and did not succeed. It's a huge gamble.

It's part luck, talent, and business/street smarts. Those are just some of the ingredients. It definitely doesn't just happen on it's own. A lot of people tend to think that musicians are lazy people (some are). But, that just isn't the case these days if you want to get anywhere. You have to work harder than the average person, and have a fierce dedication to your own cause. My typical "workday" is 12-14 hours per day, and consists of MANY different music-realated things.

For some people, it just happens organically, while others have to sacrifice everything and eat Ramen their whole lives just to keep the dream alive. Whatever you do, just be smart about it! And just to reiterate, don't do it for the money. Do it because you love the art of making music. If you're good at it, maybe you can turn it into a career. If you're dedicated and hard-working, chances are you'll eventually get paid for the art that you're creating, as long as you're smart about it.

Hope that helps.

-KM"

COME SEE ME OUT ON TOUR!  



5/17 - Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club - BUY TICKETS
5/19 - Worcester, MA @ The Palladium - BUY TICKETS
5/20 - Poughkeepsie, NY @ The Chance - BUY TICKETS
5/21 - Buffalo, NY @ The Waiting Room - BUY TICKETS
5/22 - Pittsburgh, PA @ The Rex - BUY TICKETS
5/23 - Cleveland, OH @ Agora Ballroom - BUY TICKETS
5/24 - Columbus, OH @ Skully's - BUY TICKETS
5/25 - Louisville, KY @ Diamond Pub & Billiards - BUY TICKETS
5/26 - Kokomo, IN @ Center Stage - BUY TICKETS
5/27 - Grand Rapids, MI @ The Intersection - BUY TICKETS
5/28 - Bloomington, IL @ The Castle Theatre - BUY TICKETS
5/29 - Kansas City, MO @ Granada Theater - BUY TICKETS
5/31 - San Antonio, TX @ Backstage Live - BUY TICKETS
6/01 - Dallas, TX @ Trees - BUY TICKETS
6/02 - Memphis, TN @ New Daisy Theater - BUY TICKETS
6/03 - New Orleans, LA @ Tipitina’s - BUY TICKETS
6/04 - Birmingham, AL @ Zydeco - BUY TICKETS
6/06 - Gainesville, FL @ High Dive - BUY TICKETS
6/07 - Ft. Lauderdale, FL @ The Culture Room - BUY TICKETS
6/08 - Jacksonville, FL @ Murray Hill Theatre - BUY TICKETS
6/10 - Charleston, SC @ The Music Farm - BUY TICKETS
6/11 - Charlotte, NC @ Amos Southend - BUY TICKETS
6/17 - El Paso, TX @ Tricky Falls - BUY TICKETS
6/18 - Albuquerque, NM @ Sunshine Theater - BUY TICKETS
6/19 - Tucson, AZ @ Club XS - BUY TICKETS
6/20 - Phoenix, AZ @ The Nile - BUY TICKETS
6/21 - Pomona, CA @ The Glass House - BUY TICKETS

CONQUERING DYSTOPIA!! 

The debut album from my project, Conquering Dystopia is out TODAY!! Features Jeff Loomis and I on guitars, Alex Webster of Cannibal Corpse on bass, and Alex Rudinger of The Faceless on drums. Go pick it up~!

http://conqueringdystopia.com/home


















 

Now endorsing this awesome product!  

Reunion Blues Gig Bags sent me this really awesome leather gig bag that holds 2 guitars. I’ve had a handful of gig bags over the years, and none of them really seemed like anything special. But this one is easily the highest quality gig bag I’ve seen. Really pleased to jump on their artist roster. This bag came just in time for my international trip next week, and I trust that it’ll keep my guitars safely protected. Thanks Reunion Blues! 

Keith Merrow Signature Schecter Guitar!  

I'm very honored to announce my new 2014 signature guitar with Schecter Guitars. The KM-7 specs are as below- 



 
Model Name
Keith Merrow KM-7
Item Number
237
 
Guitar Colors
Trans Black Burst Satin (TBBS)
Dexterity
Right Handed
 
Country of Origin
South Korea
Construction
Set-Neck w/Ultra Access
 
Body Material
Swamp Ash
Top Material
Flamed Maple
 
Top Contour
Arched Top
Binding
Black Multi-ply
 
Neck Material
Maple 3-pc w/ Carbon Fiber Reinforcement Rods
Fretboard Material
Ebony
 
Inlays
Offset/Reverse Dots
Scale
26.5” (673mm)
 
Frets
24 X-Jumbo Stainless Steel
Fretboard Radius
12”-16” Compound Radius
 
Neck Shape
Ultra Thin ‘C’
Thickness
@ 1st Fret- .748” (19mm)/ @ 12th Fret- .787” (20mm)
 
Nut Width
1.889” (48mm)
Nut
Graph Tech XL Black Tusq
 
Truss Rod
2-Way Adjustable Rod w/ 5/32” (4mm) Allen Nut
Bridge Pickup
Seymour Duncan Nazgul
 
Neck Pickup
Seymour Duncan Sentient
Controls
Volume (Push-Pull)/3-Way Switch
 
Hardware Color
Black
Bridge
Hipshot Hardtail (.125) w/ String Thru Body
 
Tuners
Schecter Locking
Knobs
Metal Knurled w/ Set Screw
 
Strings
Ernie Ball 7-String (.009/.011/.016/.026/.036/.046/.062)

For more info, visit the Schecter Guitars website-
HERE
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All Music By Keith Merrow © Cover Artwork and Background Images by Keith Merrow